Posted by: paulgarner | November 23, 2009

CRSQ reviews The New Creationism

The New Creationism has been reviewed in the latest edition of the Creation Research Society Quarterly (Volume 46, Number 2, p.118). The reviewer is Don Ensign. Overall he’s pretty positive about the book, concluding that it’s “a good introduction to current creation thinking” and written in “a very clear style that nonprofessional readers will appreciate.”

I’m pleased that the reviewer also noted the significantly different approach taken in my book compared with older creationist publications such as Morris and Parker’s What Is Creation Science?, especially my focus upon the development of positive creationist models (instead of attacking evolution).

As an aside, I noticed a couple of minor errors in the review: a misspelling of my name (Gardner instead of Garner in one place) and the statement that I hold “advanced degrees in both biology and geology” (in fact I only have a BSc in Environmental Sciences – Geology/Biology).

Visitors to the Creation Research Society website can order my book for $16.00 ($14.00 for CRS members) plus postage.

UPDATE (24 November 2009):
Dr Kevin Anderson, CRSQ Editor, has kindly given me permission to post the entire book review here. The full citation is as above.

Book Review: The New Creationism by Paul Garner, Evangelical Press, Webster NY, 2009, 304 pp, $16.00. Available through CRS Books.

In 1982, the book What Is Creation Science? (WCS) by Henry M. Morris and Gary E. Parker appeared. It endeavored to explain a much-generalized scientific creation worldview to a lay audience. Parker, a biologist, wrote the first part dealing with the life sciences, and Morris, a hydraulics engineer, scribed the section on the physical sciences. This book presented the case for creation without reference to Biblical arguments and citations.

At that time, the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) was promoting its two-model approach, which compared and contrasted the evidence for the creation and evolution models of origins. WCS and the earlier, more technical Scientific Creationism (1974) were published years before the rise of the intelligent design (ID) movement. ICR’s two-model approach and ID both strove to decouple Biblical bias from their creation/design arguments. WCS is filled with quotes of evolutionists who themselves point out the weaknesses of their theory. These quotations and resulting discussions were made to show the merits of the creation model from a strictly scientific perspective and to allow for a wider readership by secular audiences. While much in the earlier volume is similar to Paul Gardner’s The New Creationism (TNC), there is a significant difference in emphasis.

TNC is specifically geared to the Christian market and includes many Biblical references as it sets forth the view of origins emphasizing the Creation, the Fall, the Flood, and post-Flood eras. TNC is written in a lay-friendly manner; and while confrontation with evolutionary theory is inevitable, it is de-emphasized in favor of establishing a Biblical creation overview. Garner writes, “In this book, I will, where necessary, offer criticisms of conventional theories; however, my main aim is to summarize the work of modern-day scholars who are seeking to restore the Biblical foundations of the scientific enterprise and build positive creationist theories in the field of origins” (p. 15).

What are some of the differences between these two books? In the Morris and Parker book, much space is given to the importance of the second law of thermodynamics as a major hindrance to macroevolutionary theory (WCS, pp. 156-188), while in The New Creationism the “law of entropy” is mentioned just once (p. 37). TNC does strongly present the importance of the Curse (Genesis 3) on creation (pp. 155–164). Unlike WCS, Garner’s book cites not just recent creation research unavailable in 1982 but also details very specific creation theories that can be confirmed or falsified. It discusses the time dilation theory of Russell Humphreys, catastrophic plate tectonics, RATE research, Kurt Wise’s floating forest ideas, Michael Oard’s Ice Age studies, the growing discipline of baraminology, and many other innovative creation concepts. Garner believes these are the most promising of recent creation proposals. He wisely cautions, “Although I have tried to summarize what I regard as the best research at the time of writing, not all the ideas in this book will stand the test of time. Some of these theories will have to be revised or abandoned while Scripture remains true for all time” (p. 16).

TNC starts with cosmological questions about the big bang theory and proceeds to the formation of galaxies, stars, the solar system, and Earth. It discusses the issue of the Biblical time frame versus the deep-time paradigm of the secular science establishment with critiques of radiometric dating, origin-of-life studies, uniformitarianism, and evolution evidences. The book includes Flood catastrophism, the fossil record, post-Flood events such as the Ice Age, the distribution of mankind, the origin of races, and other issues. Garner holds advanced degrees in both biology and geology and writes in a very clear style that nonprofessional readers will appreciate. This volume is a good introduction to current creation thinking. It has numerous helpful diagrams and illustrations, a bibliography, Web site listings, an index, extensive endnotes, and numerous commendations.

Don Ensign

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